Published and © by Marvel, April 1984
Title: “Phoenix The Untold Story”
Synopsis: Five new pages reveal the originally planned ending to X-Men #137, featuring a different fate for the Phoenix.
Writers (plot): Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Writer (script): Claremont
Inker: Terry Austin
Review: No matter how tasty the final product, sausage making is rarely pretty. This is particularly true of mainstream comics, which are often created via artistic assembly line. It’s a system that can be blamed, fairly, for some less-than-inspired comics. But it can also yield spectacular results. Case in point: X-Men #137. In an earlier review, this reviewer called it “the best superhero comic” of its era. This special edition – which reprints X-Men #137 with its originally planned ending – illustrates the positive role creative tension and editorial oversight can play. Phoenix #1 is good, but the originally published version is better.
Second opinion: “… surprisingly bland and anticlimactic next to the ‘real’ version.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003
Cool factor: Offers DVD-style extras before DVDs were even invented.
Notable: Includes “The Dark Phoenix Tapes” – a round-table interview with the creative team – and the originally planned splash page for X-Men #138.
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a $2.25 Canadian variant of this issue.
Character quotable: “Haven’t you already done enough!?!” — Cyclops, after the Shi’ar complete their “psychic lobotomy” of Phoenix
A word from the editor-in-chief: “… I want to make it clear that it was less my moral problem with a character who was a mass murderer than it was a problem from a story sense.” – Jim Shooter, from “The Dark Phoenix Tapes” in Phoenix #1, April 1984
Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on May 3, 2022.